Just transfer everything online, they said. It will be easy, they said. But unfortunately, running a remote business involves enough steps that owners quickly find out it’s far from painless. The uniqueness of running a remote business even extends to the selling process.
Selling a business is challenging enough without worrying about remote team management and the instability of the current economic climate, adding another layer of complication to the process.
Luckily, if you focus on preparing not just your business but your mind, family, and team for the sale, it can go off without a hitch. Do your research so you know what is required for selling a business uk and get the advice you need.
Here’s how you can go about selling your remote business and making the transition as easy as possible for your employees, stakeholders, and other business partners.
When you get the itch to sell your business, the first thing you should do is determine if that itch should be scratched. In other words, you must think deeply about your reasons for selling.
For example, if you’re selling because you’re bored, you may want to think it through a bit more. However, if you’re selling because you’ve reached your financial goals, the business is in good standing, and you’re ready to retire, that’s a reason to move forward.
Answering the following questions can help you determine your reasons for selling your business and give you a chance to evaluate them:
- What is prompting my desire to sell my business?
- How much would my business be worth if I sold it right now?
- Do I have a plan for my employees if I do sell?
- Is now a good time personally to sell my business?
- How will a sale affect my loved ones?
- Is my business even ready to sell?
- Do I know what my business is worth?
- What’s the current state of the market?
- Do I have a plan for my life after the sale?
- What are my main goals when selling my business?
- What would prevent me from selling my business?
In addition to thinking deeply about your reason for selling, you should prepare your mindset.
Your mindset matters when selling your remote business. Without a strong mindset and handle on your emotions, you won’t make logical decisions about and throughout the sale. And there is no place for rash decisions when selling a business.
So, focus on preparing your mindset for selling. Ensure you’re not just operationally ready to sell but emotionally ready too. Sit with yourself and the above questions to genuinely gauge whether you’re prepared for such a big commitment and if you’re ready to support your family through it as well.
You can even take things a step further and enlist the help of a counselor to help you work through the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that might arise during the selling process.
In preparing your mindset for selling your remote business, also address the rest of your personal life.
It’s easy to say that you’re ready to sell your business, but what about your loved ones? How will the sale affect your family? Don’t discount their feelings and concerns in the process because your decision to sell affects them too.
Be sure to have private conversations with your spouse and children about your decision to sell and how things may look in the future because of it. Allow them to express their concerns and do your best to ease them.
Next, do a complete audit of your finances.
One of the first things potential buyers will want to see is the scope of your business finances. They’ll want to know whether your accounts are positive, whether your business has turned a profit consistently over the last few years, future projections, and so forth.
A thorough audit of your finances can help you determine the current financial state of your business and what it’s projected to look like in the future. A financial audit can also show you what about your finances you need to improve, if anything, to get the best offer from a potential buyer.
To conduct a financial audit, do the following:
- Gather all of your financial documents and ensure all of your financial systems are accessible
- Study how you’ve kept your financial records over the years
- Look for any changes in your expenses and income
- Investigate ways to cut costs and improve your budget
- Analyze the profitability of your business
- Revisit all of your financial accounts to determine if they’re in good standing
- Pay special attention to any debt you have and if it’s necessary to pay it all off for a better sale
- Look at your tax records in detail
- Assess how you’re going to protect your intellectual and tangible assets during the sale
It’s also a good idea to mull over the right time to sell.
Although you may want to sell right away, it may not be the right time for you to sell your remote business. Several things could affect when you sell. For instance, you may not be ready financially, it may not be the right time for your family and personal life, or maybe you’re not comfortable with leaving your team just yet.
Be sure you’re choosing the right time to sell. Consider the current economic climate, the state of the market, and how the world is recovering from the pandemic when contemplating whether it’s an excellent time to sell your business.
If you decide to move forward with selling your remote business, be sure you have an exit plan in place.
An exit plan is essentially your road map for how you’re going to remove yourself from a business altogether once it’s sold. This means addressing any legal, tax, financial, business, and personal obligations that tie you to your company and how you’re going to loosen those ties.
In addition to an exit plan, draft a business succession plan and a business continuity plan. Your succession plan will detail who is most fit to run your business once you leave, how they’re likely to do it, and how to seamlessly transfer the control of your business to them. Your business continuity plan details how your business would address any potential threats and remain operable through them.
In addition, hiring professionals can ensure your valuation goes as planned and the other parts of selling a business are seamless.
Although it is an option to tackle selling your remote business on your own, it may not be the wisest move. Selling a business involves various steps and detailed documentation that can be difficult to understand. If you aren’t prepared to learn the ins and outs of every step and spend time dealing with all of the paperwork involved, it’s best to enlist the help of professionals.
The following professionals can help ensure the selling process is flawless:
- Private broker or business broker
- CPA with experience selling remote businesses
- M&A advisor
- Financial advisor
- Business advisor
- Legal team
- An appraiser
Type in the service you’re looking for and your area in the search bar. Dive into the results of your search and choose a few suitable candidates. When you feel like you may have found a match, set up a consultation with them to go over what you need and if they can help you achieve it.
Solid professional help can also come in handy when it’s time to vet potential buyers.
Properly vetting potential buyers is critical in the selling process. The last thing you want to do is sell your business to someone who will run it in the ground and not take care of the employees that are staying. So instead, take your time getting to know the buyers that express interest in your business.
Ask the following questions to vet potential buyers:
- Why are you interested in buying my business specifically?
- What’s your experience in this industry?
- Have you purchased a remote business before?
- Have you run a business before?
- How are you prepared to run this business?
- Do you have experience managing a remote team?
- What’s your personal life like?
- How long have you been looking to buy a business?
- Are you financially prepared to buy my business and keep it in good standing?
- What does your professional network look like?
Be sure that you’re asking potential buyers to meet with you and your selling team in a professional setting either remotely or in person so that you have ample time to address all that’s involved in the vetting process.
Once you find a buyer for your business, work with the new owners to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Some owners may not be willing to do this, but if at all possible, work closely with the new owners to ensure your business and remaining employees are well taken care of once you leave.
Discuss remote team management specifically. Give the new owners pointers on how to ensure the safety of your remote team.
This means addressing cybersecurity concerns and offering advice you picked up over the years to prevent cybercrime. For instance, you might show them how you safeguard your employees’ tools and devices while they work from home, your use of encryption technology, and how you’ve trained your team on password security.
Also, offering guidance on how to protect remote workers’ mental and physical health can be beneficial if your buyer is unfamiliar with remote work and doesn’t know the risks involved in this new working format.
You should also be working with the new owners to ensure your employees are taken care of well after your exit.
You’ve developed some beautiful relationships with your team. Each employee had a hand in driving your business forward. So, it’s only fitting that you do everything you can to ensure they’ll be okay when you leave.
Legally, whoever buys your business can do what they want with the operation and the employees that remain there. For instance, let’s say they’re concerned about how their remote workers will spend their time each day. In that case, they can monitor their internet, email, phone, and voicemail use while on the clock so long as it doesn’t impinge on their privacy rights.
At the same time, if you’ve chosen the right buyer, they’ll likely be open to discussing how you’ve managed to reasonably monitor your employees and draft an updated policy to maintain high productivity levels.
Lastly, you must continue running your business until it’s time for you to exit entirely.
Selling your business is an exciting time. Once you get a buyer, sign the purchase agreement, and move things forward with the sale, it’s easy to coast from there until things become official. But you should commit to running your business until it’s all said and done.
This step is a bit easier if you’ve already set up your operation to run without you. However, if you haven’t, simply do what you’ve been doing until it’s time to execute your exit strategy.
How you go about selling your remote business is entirely up to you. But you should absolutely implement most if not all of the tips above if you want to go about it in the best way possible. At the very least, be sure you have a strong reason for selling your business, that it’s the right time, you choose a suitable buyer, and that your employees are well taken care of after you leave.